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Video game charity marathon returns with Summer Games Done Quick 2014

gdqIt’s that time again. Starting Sunday, June 22 to Saturday, June 28, the Speed Demos Archive will be hosting Summer Games Done Quick 2014, the second part of their annual charity video game marathon series. You’ll be able to watch speedrunners run through more than 150 games live on Twitch all week long!

Summer Games Done Quick (or SGDQ for short) will be raising money for Doctors Without Borders, a charitable organization that seeks to provide emergency medical care to those in need all across the globe. Last year’s event raised more than $250,000 towards the cause. Expectations are higher than ever this time, though, as SGDQ 2014 will be following the amazing results of this year’s Awesome Games Done Quick, an event from last January that raised more than 1 million dollars to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Hopefully this summer event can match that or even go beyond for the kind folks at Doctors Without Borders!

If you’re new to the concept of video game “speedruns,” here’s a quick rundown. The simplest way to describe the idea is to beat a game as fast as possible. However, it’s rarely ever that simple in practice. Speederunners are the hardest of the hardcore when it comes to video games. It’s to the point that some of them have become minor Internet celebrities, with hundreds to thousands of dedicated fans that watch these players practice for hours and hours, days on days, perfecting their playthroughs to become world record runs. They utilize such specific techniques that they metaphorically break the game, performing actions that the original game developers never intended to be possible. It’s the equivalent of Neo from the Matrix. These speedrunners see the game down to its core programming and proceed to bend and break the code to meet their own whims. Did you know it’s possible to beat A Link to the Past in less than 2 hours? Goldeneye in less than 50 minutes? Super Mario Bros. 2 in under half-an-hour? Have you ever even seen someone beat I Wanna Be the Boshy in any amount of time? It’s incredible to see these folks work their magic, and these marathons provide the opportunity to watch it all live.

On Sunday, hundreds of video game fans will have made the pilgrimage to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Denver, Colorado, making it video game marathon central. Attendance to these biannual events has grown steadily over the years. Most people that go to the events nowadays don’t even run games! They’re only there to witness the magic in person, while also volunteering to maintain the stream station or process donations (because they get a LOT of those).

If you can’t make it to speedrun HQ yourself, you’ll be able to watch the weeklong marathon while at home (or on your lunch break) by tuning in online! More than 150 games will be played at SGDQ 2014. Some of the highlights include Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and the ever-popular Super Metroid. Not only will you see runners beat games at record time, but they’ll also provide commentary, breaking down their techniques and sharing their strategies. It’s not only fun, but also educational!

Of course, this is a charity event, and spectators are encouraged to donate their money towards a good cause! Your donations will not go unrewarded, either. Donors will be eligible to win raffle prizes that range from custom artwork, official game merchandise and brand new video games and systems. Heck, I even donated a prize to the event myself: this adorable Zero Suit Samus alpaca plush with an outfit sewn together by yours truly!

Donations will also go towards challenge incentives that will directly affect the runners and their playthroughs. Want them to name a video game character after your cat? Put your money towards that! Want to see a runner play the game blindfolded? You can make that happen with your donations! Want to hear a room full of tone-deaf nerds sing along to a video game’s theme song? Maybe not, but you can force the rest of the Internet to endure it while also raising money for charity!

You’ll be able to watch the event live on the Speed Demos Archive Twitch channel starting on Sunday, June 22, at 1 PM Central time. The event lasts all week, and you can check out the planned schedule here. Even after SGDQ officially ends on Saturday, the show will go on with an additional bonus stream featuring even more games. Check out the official Games Done Quick website for more information. For a small taste of the action, you can also check out the official preview video!

By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra

Young Title Company